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I can see why Warp avoids using the label 'gay' for their characters: it has a lot of (American, because, hey, W&R are American)cultural baggage attached to it. There's expectations of how someone who is gay behaves: look at the "Sassy Gay Friend" videos on Youtube, the book/movie trope of the gay yenta who helps the (usually female) main character with romance problems, and so on. Gay men aren't supposed to have anything to do with women, either.(There's been some of that expressed in this thread.) Not just sexually; the stereotype of a gay man who is jealous of a woman/women because they're competition for straight men, and is disdainful of women in general, can still be found in various media. And with Elfquest, that concept doesn't make any sense. The elves don't have the history of assuming that one sex is naturally inferior to the other. Jealousy over a romantic interest has been portrayed as a personal issue, not a compliment. (The origin of the Trial of Head, Hand and Heart described in Journey to Sorrow's End points to romantic jealousy as potentially a community-affecting problem as well.) Sending means an elf can know unequivocally if someone is interested in them or not. It can be a matter of **I'm sorry, I'm not interested in you( as a male/female partner)** and **I'm sorry, I'm not interested in you(as a person).** Recognition means that even if an elf has no interest in the opposite sex, they may wind up joining with someone who is, anyway. I get the impression that many fans (from various places) who are disappointed over the lack of a "gay character/couple" in EQ want that "gold star" gay. (ie, no sexual interaction with a female, ever) character/relationship. The attitude that lesbian sex and characters "don't count" still exists in sf/fantasy fandom as a whole when it comes to representation. Which makes me wonder people would react if W&R came out (pardon the pun) and created a gold star female same-sex couple.